Tony ran a hand down Clint’s throat, over his chest, and Clint shivered. “See? Look at the way your body responds just to that. Imagine how you’ll react when my mouth is on you.”
Tony found Clint’s room without much difficulty. The man was sitting up in bed, shirtless, chest wrapped round with bandages. His face had some scrapes, but he grinned broadly when he saw Tony.
“Hello.” Tony walked to him, leaning down to kiss him gently, and stepping back for a better look. It really wasn’t too bad……at least what he could see from the waist up. As Clint had said, just the ribs and then some mild scrapes. Tony felt relief starting to set in. Clint was watching him with raised brows. “……..what.”
“Hey, I wanted to know you were okay.”
“I TOLD you I was.”
“Like I was just gonna believe you.”
“Oh, shut up.” Clint lifted the call button, giving it a little wave. “Ready?”
Tony burst out laughing. “Go for it.”
Clint pressed the button and immediately a loud obnoxious beeping began ringing out. Moments later, a petite brunette in a white nurse’s dress entered the room.
“How can I….” But she stopped dead when she saw Tony, her clipboard clattering to the floor. Tony bit back a laugh, but he couldn’t hold it in for long as Clint began waving a finger in his direction, pointing.
“See? See? I told you I knew him! I told you I knew Tony Stark!”
Aaaaand Tony was done for, hand over his mouth in attempt to cover the burst of laughter, but it wasn’t very successful. The nurse was staring with huge eyes and mouth agape, and Clint was still jeering in the background, shouting “What now?!” just like he’d said he would, and oh God, Tony couldn’t breathe.
He swatted at Clint, trying to shut him up, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to catch his breath as long as Clint was talking. Clint glanced up at him. “….what.”
“Shut up.” Somehow Tony managed that much, seizing the opportunity to take a deep breath of air.
“Hey, they didn’t believe me!”
“Yea, well I think you’ve made your point now.” Tony’s lungs still burned from laughing so much, but at least he could breathe now. He stepped closer to Clint, a hand running through that soft golden hair. The action was automatic, his body simply knowing by now that it wanted to touch Clint, not even thinking about the fact that there was someone else present.
Luckily, Clint didn’t seem to think about it, either. He leaned back into the touch, eyes slipping shut happily at the feeling. Tony smiled down at him. He was so relieved to see that Clint was okay.
There was a noise, and Tony jumped. It was the nurse picking up her clipboard. Tony had totally forgotten someone else was even in the room.
“Um…..I…..” the woman stammered for words.
“So…..Clint…..” Tony still stroked Clint’s hair, “….you didn’t tell me your nurse was a hottie.”
The woman immediately blushed a brilliant crimson.
Clint glared up at Tony. “No….I didn’t.”
“Or that she was in uniform. Damn. Whenever I’m in the hospital, they wear those scrubs-things. They look like pajamas. How come I never get the hot nurse in the sexy uniform? I wanna be sent to a hospital like this.”
“…..Tony…” There was a note of warning in Clint’s voice, but Tony, clearly enjoying himself, turned his attention to the nurse, all the while still casually stroking Clint’s hair.
“What’s your name, doll?”
The woman opened her mouth to answer, but Clint seemed to have reached his breaking point. “Doll? Okay, no.” He swatted Tony’s hand off his head. “You don’t talk to other people like that. You only talk to me like that.”
The nurse shifted closer to Tony, leaning in to whisper, “I’m terribly sorry, he’s been in a state of shock all day…..very violent and angry. I don’t think he understands what he’s saying.”
Tony wasn’t sure whether to be afraid or amused, because he knew that those words were going to make Clint explode.
……..he was right.
Clint did explode…..literally. He was up and out of bed in two seconds. He didn’t attack the woman, just got right in front of her, pointing a finger right in her face. “Listen, lady, I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this. I am not fucking in shock…..got it? As you can clearly fucking see, I DO know Tony Stark, so maybe now you can get it through that pretty head of yours that the rest of what I’ve been saying is true, too. And you…..” and now he turned his attention to Tony, grabbing him by the tie and yanking him close, “….you don’t use that tone of voice on anyone but me……..got it?”
Their faces were centimeters apart. Tony stared into those blue eyes, always so full of emotion, right now so angry and possessive….and he closed the distance between them, his lips lightly brushing Clint’s in a soft, chaste kiss. “…..got it.”
Apparently, Clint was satisfied. The tense anger faded from his brow; he released Tony’s tie, hand smoothing down the man’s shirtfront, stroking his chest. He glanced at the nurse, eyes narrowed. “….get out.”
She didn’t need telling twice. She left the room so fast, Tony was surprised she didn’t leave scorch marks behind. He snickered.
Tony looked back at Clint, who had a brow arched at him. “Heh. You scared the shit outta her. Ow!” The last came as Clint smacked his cheek just hard enough to sting. “Hey!”
“Shut the fuck up. You are SUCH a pain in the ass.”
“I don’t know what you mean.” Tony stroked Clint’s cheek. “Get back in bed.”
“Bullshit you don’t know what I mean.” But Clint did as told, heading back to bed. “What the hell, hitting on the nurse. Asshole.”
Tony laughed. “Sorry. That’s what you get.”
Clint shifted beneath the covers, trying to get comfortable. “What the fuck do you mean, that’s what I get. What the hell did I do?”
“Hmm, let’s see….” Tony made a big show of thinking it over while he fluffed up Clint’s pillows for him. “…..first you go on a mission…”
“I do that all the time.”
“Okay, now we’re adding ‘interrupting’ to the list.”
Tony smiled. “Ass.” He leaned back in his chair, settling in. He was clearly aiming for nonchalance, but it wasn’t working so well. Obviously, whatever this was about was something that had bothered him. “So…..you go on a mission…..and I don’t hear back from you for a fucking week. A WEEK. Do you know how that feels?”
Clint felt a wave of guilt. “…..I’m sorry. I forgot.”
“…..you forgot. You forgot to check in with me.”
“…..you forgot to call me and let me know that you were alive. That you weren’t fucking dead somewhere on some fucking mission and I would never fucking see you again.”
“I’m sorry! I get really focused when I’m out there and I just…….I don’t know. I lose track of everything else. I just…….I’m sorry!”
Tony shook his head. “Fuck, Clint. You scared me to death. I didn’t sleep a bit. Not one fucking second of sleep.”
“Ah, so that explains the bags under the eyes,” Clint attempted lightheartedly. He was met with stonefaced silence.
“………you think this is funny?”
“Good. Cuz it’s not. Fuck, Clint. What if this happens sometime, if you forget to call me, and you actually DO die?”
“……Tony…..” Clint didn’t know what to say. But Tony was fumbling through his bag.
“Here…” he rose from his chair, moving to sit on the bed beside Clint. He had something in his hand, smaller than a penny.
“…..what is that?”
“The communicator I mentioned. I made it on the ride over here.”
“…….what the fuck. Seriously?” How the hell did Tony manage to make something that complex, make a two way communicator smaller than a coin, in the time it had taken to fly from their home to the hospital? Holy shit.
“Yea. I mean, it’s a prototype. I’ll rework it later, make you a better one. But this is to give you an idea. You’re gonna have one of these from now on. You’re gonna wear it at all times, and you better fucking remember it’s there. The only way I’ll be out of touch is if you turn it off, or leave it somewhere. And it’s not just for me, Coulson’ll be able to get through to you, too. As soon as I link him in.” Clint just stared at Tony, who looked back at him almost defensively. “……….what.”
And then Clint was embracing Tony, holding him as tight as he could with his broken ribs and scrapes and bruises. “I’m so sorry,” he whispered, his face buried in Tony’s messy hair, taking in that scent that was Tony’s alone.
“You scare me to death, you know that?”
“I know. I’m sorry.”
“Every time you go out I wonder if you’re ever gonna come back to me.”
Clint felt another wave of guilt. “I know. I don’t try to……I’m sorry.” He pulled back to look at Tony and was horrified to see how much it looked like Tony was going to cry. If it were anyone but Tony, he would have been positive that those were tears. “Hey. I’ll do better. I promise. And hey. You made me this.” He touched the communicator that Tony still held. “And I’ll always wear it. You’ll always know where I am and when I’m coming back to you. And I always will come back to you.” He kissed Tony. “Promise.”
The fear and worry in Tony’s eyes faded, and he nodded. “Okay. Okay.” The corners of his mouth turned up in a tiny smile. “You better. Otherwise I’m gonna hunt you down and kill you myself, you bastard.”
Clint laughed. “Like you could.”
“Oh, you’d be surprised. When I’m pissed, I’m surprisingly badass.”
Laughing, Clint tugged Tony in for another kiss, so happy to see that the man had relaxed. He hated that he had worried Tony this much. But as much as he normally had a very short attention span (as Tony just loved to point out), when he was on a mission his focus was nearly unbreakable. And it wasn’t that he ever forgot Tony. Generally they talked often during missions. Just sometimes…..wow, how do I think of him and yet forget to phone? His brow furrowed as he tried to puzzle that one out.
He stirred from his thoughts when he heard the beeping of the nurses’ buzzer. Tony had pressed the call button again. “What’re you doing?”
“I need to ask for something. Don’t worry, no flirting this time. Besides, I’m pretty damn positive they’ll send someone else. I doubt that woman would return no matter HOW much they paid her.”
Clint grinned. “Good.” And kissed Tony.
They were interrupted by a different nurse knocking on the door. Tony immediately shook his head, muttering under his breath, “fucking redheads,” and it was Clint’s turn to bite back a laugh. The woman really looked nothing at all like Tasha, but he knew that that was the comparison Tony was making.
“Can I help you?”
“Yea, please.” Tony turned to face the woman. “I called earlier and spoke to one of the doctors. I’m hoping to take Clint home with me, tonight if possible.”
The nurse looked unsure (Clint would bet good money that the story of their earlier encounter had been spread throughout the nurses’ station), but she checked the chart on her clipboard. “….it does look as if he is going to be discharged into the care of….” She paused, double checking, and looked up at the two of them, disbelief evident in her eyes and voice. “…….Tony Stark…?”
“Yup, that’s me. Okay, so we’re going to be given some medication and supplies, then?”
“……uh…..” The nurse was still staring in shock.
“I’ll take that as a yes. Also,” Tony rose, moving to her, “I had inquired about getting another medication.”
“…..and maybe another nurse. One who isn’t so confused? Yes, another medication. One with some sedative effects? It should all be there on the chart…” Tony tugged it out of her hands, flipping through the papers.
That caught Clint’s attention. “Wait, what? Sedatives? Tony, what? No.”
But Tony ignored him, flipping through until he found what he was looking for. “Ah, yes. There. Looks like it was approved. Okay, if you can go and get this all set, my plane is outside. Can’t miss it, it’s the large flying machine in your parking lot? Huge, metal, big wings? Get someone to load it up, please, there’s a good girl.” He ushered her out of the room, closing the door behind her.
Clint was sitting up in bed, staring at him. “…….Tony……I am NOT taking any sedatives. There is no WAY you are getting me to take sedatives.”
“They’re not sedatives. They’re like…..” Tony tried to think of a good way to explain, and sighed. “Okay. They’re just gonna make your body more immobile.”
“What?! No! Fuck! That’s just as bad!”
“It is not! Your mind will be fully functional, you’ll be completely cognizant of what’s going on….you just won’t be fully mobile.”
“……and HOW exactly isn’t that bad?”
“Because it lets me take care of you!” Tony sat down on the bed again, reaching out to stroke Clint’s cheek. “Clint……if I have any hope of helping you recover and still being able to make you feel good, this is really the only way. Look…..” He ran a hand down Clint’s throat, over his chest, and Clint shivered. “See? Look at the way your body responds just to that. Imagine how you’ll react when my mouth is on you. If you take these pills, you’ll be able to feel everything, but you won’t have any spontaneous reactions that’ll end in you accidentally hurting yourself.”
Clint could understand where Tony was coming from, but…. “……..I don’t wanna not be able to move. I don’t like feeling vulnerable like that.”
Tony smiled. “Don’t hafta worry. I already took care of it.”
Clint frowned, not understanding. “What do you mean.”
“Got people at the house, and I made sure they were all people you knew personally. Don’t worry, none of them know you got hit by a car. Coulson made up some lie.”
“Well, Coulson said he’d stay; I promised him use of the living room for his insane reality TV obsession. Thor’s crashing upstairs……think Jane’s in town for the weekend, so he was all for it. Steve’ll be in and out. Bruce’ll be there, probably locked away in the labs most of the time. Hey, maybe Jane’ll even go down for a while. It’ll be a science nerd convention.”
Clint had to laugh at that. “Yeah, he’ll like that.”
Tony looked relieved that Clint seemed to have accepted the idea. He shifted on the bed, turning away from Clint. “…..oh. And Tasha’ll be there.”
……Clint was positive that he’d heard wrong. “……..what?”
Tony looked extremely uncomfortable. “Tasha’ll be there. Tasha’s staying at the house.”
“………..you asked Tasha to come.”
“S’what I said, isn’t it?”
“You actually invited Tasha over.”
“To our house.”
“Our Tasha. Avengers Tasha. Black Widow Tasha?”
“Yes, okay?! Yes!” Tony’s voice was extremely irritated.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry! Just……holy shit. Really? Sorry. Just…….wow. You hate her.”
“I don’t HATE her!” There was a long silence as Clint simply stared skeptically at Tony. “…….okay yea, I sorta hate her. I can’t help it. She fucked you over before. Really bad. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why you still trust her. But you do. And I want you to feel safe. So yea. I asked her to come help with that.”
Clint’s face hurt, he was smiling so hard, and he kissed Tony, hugging him tight. “You’re so Goddamn wonderful.”
“Yea, you better remember it,” Tony grumbled. “And she better behave that sweet ass of hers. She says one snotty thing and I’m using it as an excuse to bitch slap her five ways to Sunday.”
Clint laughed. “She’d kick your ass in two seconds.”
“Whatever. Bruce would avenge me.”
“Hey! I would avenge you!”
“Tch, you’ll be laid up in bed with broken ribs. From getting hit by a car.”
“Hey, you promised we’re not gonna talk about that!”
Tony grinned. “Not to anyone else. Doesn’t mean I’m not gonna mock the hell out of you.”
Clint glowered. “Asshole.”
There was a knock on the door and the nurse reentered. “Mr. Stark? The items are all loaded on your plane.”
“So we’re free to go?”
“Great.” Tony slid from the bed and gave Clint a hand up. “Here we go.”
Clint looked at the wheelchair the nurse placed before him. “Oh, come on. You’re kidding me, right?”
“Nope. I had to do it when I came back from Afghanistan.”
“Yeah well you were gone how fucking long, exactly?”
“Clint, get in the Goddamn wheelchair.”
Clint grumbled but did as he was told, and Tony led the way out of the hospital. As soon as they were aboard the plane, Clint spoke up. “Can I get out of the damn wheelchair now?”
Tony laughed. “Yea. And into bed.”
“You’re gonna baby the hell outa me, aren’t you.”
“You bet your ass.”
Clint just shook his head, but he was smiling, and it was clear that he was loving it. “Well…..as long as it’s not only babying.”
“Oh?” Tony tossed his bag aside, kneeling down to help Clint into bed.
“Yeah. I seem to remember promises about being taken care of…….and I don’t think ‘babying’ was what you were referring to.”
Tony smiled that wicked little smile of his. “Not at all. You just wait until we get home, baby.” It was such an innocent word, but in Tony’s teasing tone of voice, it became absolutely filthy. “I’ll take real good care of you.”
“Oh?” Clint leaned in for a kiss, murmuring, “I’m looking forward to it.”